A MOUSE super-highway is on track to help save one of Britain’s most elusive creatures.

Students at Kingston Maurward College are adding their help and elbow grease to a national conservation project to try and halt the sharp decline in hazel dormice.

The Dorchester campus has been given funding as part of the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) project, and students have so far rebuilt and filled gaps in 250 metres of college hedgerow.

The PTES project is funded by Natural England and is due to run until March next year.

Kingston Maurward’s countryside management students have also been carrying out a detailed condition survey of the college’s other hedgerows which cover the 750-acre campus.

Course tutor Lissy Carr said: “Our students have been creating wildlife corridors across the estate linking existing hedgerows with woodland, giving creatures a safe passage to move about the countryside.

“It’s important work. And by carrying out surveys we build up a clear picture of wildlife habitats to help us improve them.”

Dormice are a protected species and traditionally inhabit woodland scrub and hedgerows.

Dormice populations in Dorset have fallen. Although hotspots still exist, in seven English counties it is already extinct.

Where woodland has been chopped down, populations become isolated and find it impossible to move to new habitats to find mates.

Even gaps in woodland of as little as 100 yards can prevent the species spreading.

A PTES spokesman said: “Hedgerows are not only invaluable wildlife habitats but are integral to our culture, history and archaeology. Since the Second World War there has been a drastic loss of hedgerows and a decline in numbers of species like the hazel dormouse that depend on them.

“Threats to hedgerows include neglect, incorrect timing of management and over trimming.”